At £28,000 this isn’t the most valuable Lanzarote Hurdle we’ve ever seen, though with a maximum 20-runner field, soft ground a trip alien to many in the line-up this is about as competitive as it ever gets.
We’ve managed to whittle the runners down to these six, each of them having a fine each-way chance at good prices.
Philip Hobbs’ six-year-old gelding comes into this race on the back of only three hurdle starts, though with a highly progressive to boast.
Having been well beaten on good ground on debut, albeit behind McFabulous, he improved to run second at Chepstow in a maiden contest.
He justified favouritism last time out over this trip at Ascot and, while Kempton is a little different and he is pitched into much better company now, his handicap mark doesn’t look to be too inhibiting.
Despite even less experience than Everglow, there is plenty to like about Nicky Henderson’s Glynn who has done his hurdling so far on another flat track.
In two spins around Doncaster, the seven-year-old has won a maiden ever so easily before being turned over in a handicap, though there is clearly much more to come from him.
Beaten fair and square on the day, Glynn was sent off favourite last time and more could have been expected, while on this softer ground over a longer trip and with that extra mileage now under his belt he looks like he can be trusted to put in a very big run off a mark of 134.
Three from 14 over hurdles, Hunters Call bring some shrewdness into the event and it could well be the difference when the going gets tough over the last couple of obstacles.
While admittedly lightly-raced, this chap has not lost at all or at least not done so by more than 7½ lengths for the past three-and-a-half years.
His run at Aintree in December shows that he is truly coming to himself now, will love this trip and going, and represents a bit of value having been quoted at double figures this week.
One True King
We have one with a terrific profile here, making him on paper a very strong candidate indeed. At just six years old, One True King is young and with tons of improvement clearly still to come over hurdles, yet with five runs under his belt over timber he fully knows his job.
His hurdling form figures of 31221 have all been achieved over two miles so far, however his latest win was easily his most impressive and was achieved on soft ground while he also looked if anything as though he’d improve over this sort of trip.
There is nothing much to dislike about Nigel Twiston-Davies’ contender and it seems certain that the money will come in for him on Saturday morning.
Polish is a very consistent type from a very capable yard, that of Fergal O’Brien’s, and his solid-looking profile most certainly makes him one to take very seriously in a competitive handicap.
That said, while he runs up to his best so often, he doesn’t necessarily look like one who will suddenly improve and on a level playing field with the others it seems he’s need to at the weights to strike a major blow.
Emma Lavelle’s seven-year-old did his best work when landing a race over this 2m5f distance over at Ascot in November on soft ground, at which time we’re sure the stable had this race in mind.
While taking another step forward cannot be discounted, Shang Tang’s overall form doesn’t really entitle him to be counted among the leading contenders in this race, though there is a nagging feeling that he’s the type who will pop up in a contest of this nature at some point.
This is a fascinating race and one that will find quite a few out, if not because of a testing track but because of the underfoot conditions and many having not had to put it all in over this sort of race distance.
The one with all the potential is ONE TRUE KING and, if he definitely stays the trip, looks the one with most weight in hand based on his upward career trajectory.
He’s not alone in being an improver and the likes of Glynn and Shang Tang may very well not be far behind, though it’s the Twiston-Davies runner who ticks the most boxes.